TJ Oceanography students watch screening of “Mission Blue” at the White House


photo courtesy of Lisa Wu

Lab director Lisa Wu and a group of Jefferson students meet renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Lindsay Williams, Online Editor-in-Chief

On Monday, Oct. 27, students in the Oceanography and Geophysical Systems Research Lab went to a showing of the documentary “Mission Blue” and question and answer session with the subject of the documentary, renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle, at the White House.

“Mission Blue” discusses Earle’s career as an oceanographer and the declining state of the ocean. It was released on Netflix but the event offered the unique opportunity to ask questions to Earle.

“I thought the documentary it was a little sad, but it needed to be because that is what is happening to the oceans,” senior Jesse Heise said. “I think the only way to get the message across that we need to take drastic action is through some depressing scenes.”

Earle was one of the first people to use scuba equipment when it was first invented and was one of the first women on the Tektite underwater oceanography lab. She was also the diver who tested the GYM suit, which reached the maximum possible depth of any diving suit. She personally cataloged all of the algae species across the American coast and was the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Her documentary focuses on her life and the importance of the work she’s doing to protect our oceans.

“She was the first female oceanographer who really cared about protecting the ocean,” senior Shani Cave said.

Getting to meet and talk to a successful oceanographer was inspiring for many of the students who are currently doing their own research in the field of oceanography.

“She’s very positive,” Oceanography and Geophysical Systems lab director Lisa Wu said. “I think in your life, you want to feel like you’ve made a difference and I think she comes across as someone who has actually made a difference to our planet. I think that Dr. Earle is a really good example that one person can make a difference and that if you do what your passion is in life that you’ll never be sorry.”